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Stepher 01-29-2008 02:26 PM

He just stops...
Crackie (4 year old paint gelding) has this bad habit of just stopping. He's always really good at the start of the ride, but after a few laps (I do lots of circles and stuff to keep him occupied) he decides that he has had enough and will stop right by the gate. It's almost impossible to get him to move. I tried kicking, clicking, kissing, saying 'walk on' [at various tones]. The only thing that seems to work is turning him and walking in a different direction. He'll go around a couple times nicely and then it starts again... its driving me crazy. I make sure Im driving him forward, and not giving him any cues to halt. At the end of the ride today I was able to get him to walk past the gate 3 times without stopping (a new record :roll: ) but I would turn him in a circle as soon as I felt him starting to halt.
Once halted he throws his head up in the air, and pins his ears. I know it's not a tack issue, I've checked over and over, and he is not being pinched anywhere. It's not a teeth issue, he had them done in the fall; so I know he is just being a brat because its just by the gate. I have NEVER gotten off him by the gate, I always pick a random spot and dismount, loosed my girth and pat him a bit.
Does anyone have any ideas on breaking him from this habit?

8horses 01-29-2008 04:09 PM

When he stops at the gate, get off and walk him past, or have some one do it while you are on. Make sure to reward him for getting past the gait, even if it is with assistance. Eventually, it should click that going past the gait is easier than being difficult.

upnover 01-29-2008 05:56 PM

I would say do not get off by the gate. He's got to keep working with you on his back or it will just reward him for stopping there. Do whatever it takes to get him moving again (usually when your horse is 'stuck' and won't move forward you can get them moving again by turning them left or right). He also needs to learn that going out the gate doens't mean that he's done. I would also try walking out the gate, going back to the barn, let him sit in the barn with his tack on (loosen his girth though!) and then take him back out to work. Then back to the barn for a bit, then back out to work. Or even ride him outside of the arena if you can. He needs to learn that if you're on his back, no matter where he is or what he's doing, he is "at work". Just a warning, when you take him back to the barn and try to leave again he's probably going to put up a bit of a fuss. After a while going out the gate won't be so great because it doesn't mean he's finished being worked.

funnygal 01-29-2008 08:39 PM

I agree about not getting off! He wins if you get off. My new horse did the EXACT same thing. My trainer worked with me several lessons in a row. He was pretty "barn sour" and didn't want to work.

Are you at the walk when he does this? If so, I would anticipate he is going to try to stop and ask for trot a good 20 yards before the gate. Keep him FORWARD. We use "squeeze, cluck, spank" (with dressage whip) as our forward aids. When my horse also started stopping and pinning his ears, I would give up and turn him and just walk him (in the beginning) without upping the "anty". My trainer stopped that quick, especially because he then started a little kick back (a very mini-buck!!) So here I am, advanced beginner, first horse, afraid to get bucked off. I had to get over that fast because he was winning every time. My trainer gave me confidence to follow up with my aids...squeeze, cluck, spank - quick, fast and confident. It only took a few times and he gave up. I held on, was prepared fully to be bucked off and take a spill if I needed to, but I had to do it, or I would never be able to ride him safely as his leader. I survived and conquered and I'm really enjoying my horse now :)

We also do passenger lessons. If you have a fenced ring or area, hold reins on the buckle - resist every temptation to steer. Start at the walk and then trot. Your job (and his) is to control the "gas pedal". He can trot where he wants but he has to stay at the gait that you set. If he drops back down to walk, squeeze, cluck, spank. When he stays at trot leave him alone.

This is a hard exercise but it really works. NO STEERING!! It's also great for your seat and balance.

Now, your guy will definitely trot back to the gate and try to stop. Even if his nose is pointed into the gate latch, squeeze, cluck spank - hold your saddle or mane if you need to and get ready for him to turn or move forward.

Another option (also Clinton Anderson based) is to circle/trot him AT the gate. Make the gate the place you work harder. Do anything to move his feet in FRONT of the gate - make him go backwards (hustle back - not slowly)...yield his hindquarters at the gate over and over in circles. He will soon realize the gate is no fun!

When it's time to rest, let him rest at the furthest corner, nose in corner of ring. Pat him, "good job" etc.

If you up the "anty", stay consistent with your aids, it won't take long to fix. My guy is fixed for the most part but every now and then he tries to stop and pin his ears...and I give him a good hard tap with my dressage whip (after giving him a chance with squeeze, cluck) and it's usually fixed. He is TESTING YOU big time. Be confident, be the leader and you'll be fine. Good luck :)

Abby 01-29-2008 09:56 PM

I didn't read the rest of of the posts so sorry for doubling if this was already said but every time he walks past the gate successfully, reward and pat him, and THEN get off.

Or get off at some random spot and lead him to the gate, walk him out do a few circles or a figure eight at the walk if its snowy or wet and then bring him back in the ring and then make him do extra work near the gate on a line or on his back. That way it shows him leaving the gate doesn't always mean the work is done.

I tried it with my horse and it didn't work, lol but it worked great for my moms horse. He NEVER stops at the gate now. Mine is a little more barn sour so this didn't work as well but you could still try it. :?

jazzyrider 01-30-2008 01:44 AM

i didnt read through all the posts either so hopefully i dont double up. i do agree though about NOT getting off of him. essentially you are giving him the ability to gain some kind of reward for doing this.

my wb was very much the same when i first got him only he wouldnt walk at all lol and then when he did he would only walk a step or two before stopping again...soooooo frustrating

anyhoo, to break him of this and teach him what was required of him we did a lot of groundwork. everywhere we went where we were leading him we would say 'walk' as soon as we started walking. whenever he would stop, he would be asked to walk. if he didnt do it he got a really light tap on the rump with a dressage whip. hes pretty sensitive so he didnt need a huge whack. half the time just making the movement with the whip was all he needed to make him move forward.

eventually it got to the point where he was always walking when we said it so i started him under the saddle again. now all i have to do is say walk and he walks. he still has his moments where he tries it on but they are getting less and less as time goes on. hes learning that it really doesnt matter what he wants to do cause if he doesnt do it that whip is gunna head for his rump :) never had to even hit him with it either.

in so many cases, groundwork and going back to basics is the answer to any problems. your horse should never be allowed to stop at the gate and have you get off to move him past it. even if you have to sit there all day getting him to go past. when he does go past though praise him and pet him and reassure him that if he does good you are going to be happy with him and gives him rewards :)

Stepher 01-30-2008 10:42 AM


When he stops at the gate, get off and walk him past, or have some one do it while you are on
I would never do this, it would be letting him win... A lot of the time its just me out there (small farm), so I dont really have anyone to help me. [FYI - the BO's husband works for home, so there is someone on the propery if something was to happen]


usually when your horse is 'stuck' and won't move forward you can get them moving again by turning them left or right).
I tried that, and it worked for a bit, but then it got to the point where he would turn and then stop again. I am definitly going to take him back into the barn and then take him back out to work though... I cant beleive I didnt think of it!


hold reins on the buckle - resist every temptation to steer. Start at the walk and then trot. Your job (and his) is to control the "gas pedal"
I might try this once I trust him more and he's a little further in his training, he's young and needs the contact to feel secure still.


when he does go past though praise him and pet him and reassure him that if he does good you are going to be happy with him and gives him rewards
I also did that :wink: when he walked past I gave him lots of praise and patted his neck. I also NEVER get off him at the gate, and once I got him by nicely yesterday I got off him at the farthest corner.

Thanks again guys, I will definitly be trying this stuff out. He's fine on the ground, awesome manners (most of the time.. he does need a reminder now and then :wink: ) He only ever stops when we are in the ring, never when I ride him in the field... I suppose Im going to be searching for a crop :roll: [/quote]

derbyhillsranch 01-30-2008 11:08 PM

start off your session by working him extra hard around the gate area. Then, after working him hard around the gate, take him to the opposite side of the arena and let him rest. Repeat this as needed.

Stepher 01-31-2008 01:41 PM

Well I tried to go riding today, but the entire place is a sheet of ice. Looks like Im going to have to wait to ride... again. Im so sick of winter, it had better be an early spring!

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